Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Having A Leg To Stand On

As we noted last Wednesday, the election season is upon us. Today, Tuesday, nowhere will that be more apparent than in the special election for U.S. House being held in Florida's 13th district, in the area around Sarasota.

While many in the media have already been saying things like 'this election will offer clues for 2014', as most of the honest political media has already admitted, no matter who wins, the special election won't really be a bellwether for either party for the rest of 2014. Most of the national media is insiting this race will simply be a test of the party's strategies surrounding Obamacare. That said, it's almost guaranteed that no matter who wins the race, that candidate's party will ignore the facts, and claim the victory in Florida is a sign of things to come the rest of the year.

The facts so far as we have them don't say much.

Even though Sink is taking a slight lead into today, and she has a solid lead in early voting, she's made it clear throughout her campaign she's a moderate on many issues. In a district that's traditionally voted for a moderate Republican, her position is hardly a surprise. Her counterpart, Republican David Jolly - a former DC lobbyist with a troubling history - has been making a desperate attempt to appear moderate as the election has drawn to a close, even going to so far as to alienate the National Republican Party who have made it clear they don't approve of Jolly's sudden moderation.

In short, Republicans appear willing to shoot their own candidate in the foot, and politically take his legs out from under him if he won't march to the beat of the extremist drum. Frankly, that may be both the craziest and most honest thing the GOP has done in quite some time.

In contrast, Alex Sink's absence from one of the largest events in Florida on Monday shows that Democrats also still know how to shoot themselves in the feet with those who may be on the fence about supporting them.

The event on Monday was the massive march in Florida's state capitol of Tallahassee to call for changes to Florida's disastrous 'Stand Your Ground" law. That law has, in a manner of speaking, blown the legs of Florida's gun rights supporters completely off. In multiple different cases, the law has been twisted, both against those who were shot - like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis - as well as those who held the guns, like Marissa Alexander and Michael Giles.

While there are still many calling for the law to be scrapped completely, many more seem willing to accept the idea that the law won't likely be overturned. Many of those marchers say the law should be fixed, changed, and made more just, if it can't be eliminated altogether.

That idea of fixing what you can, making progress where you can, finding common ground and moving forward is an idea Alex Sink has supported in other areas of governing previously. However, she was nowhere near the protest Monday. She didn't even issue a press release stating her support for the efforts of those marching for a just and positive change.

We know for those of our readers in Florida this doesn't exactly leave you with a great decision to make today: It's a choice between a fraudulent and craven Republican in Jolly who's obviously pandering for whatever votes he can scrape together, and in Alex Sink a Democrat who has chosen to be low-profile, instead of courageous enough to boldly come out in favor of changing an unjust law.

That, in a nutshell, may be the most likely part of the Florida race that's duplicated elsewhere this year - desperate pandering from Republicans, with muted stands on every issue from Democrats.

If those dynamics are what's copied in other elections later this year,  both major parties may just be shooting themselves in the feet come this fall.